If you are familiar with Theo, then you know that our cocoa beans are the very core of our business. They are the raw material that we lovingly source and roast (and taste) and mill (and taste) and conch (and taste) and then mold into bars (and continue to taste!) that creates a product that is not only sustainably harvested, Fair for Life and Fair Trade, but outrageously delicious.
In addition to our finished bars, we offer roasted cocoa nibs so you too can experiment with this remarkable raw ingredient and experience what chocolate is like before it becomes chocolate. You can buy these nibs in bulk at our retail store or find them on the shelves at Whole Foods, PCC, and Food Co-ops nationally.
So what exactly is a nib? At our various cocoa-growing origins (which you can read about here) farmers harvest brightly colored, football-shaped pods from the cocoa trees. Inside each of these pods are 30-50 seeds, encased in a fruity white pulp. The farmers empty the insides of the cocoa pods and allow the fruit-covered seeds to ferment. When the fruity pulp dries up, only the seeds are left, which are then dried, bagged, and shipped to our factory. We begin the chocolate-making process by roasting the whole beans and then cracking and removing their shells with a machine called the winnower. What comes out of the winnower are the roasted, broken cocoa beans, otherwise known as nibs. They are beautiful to behold and have a delightful crunch and robust, nuanced flavor that hints at the chocolate they may become.
Nibs are 100% pure cocoa. In a recent study on the Mediterranean diet, unlimited dark chocolate consumption is allowed, as long as it is above 70%. Now that’s food for thought. You can read more about the study here.
These nib energy bars are the perfect grab-and-go snack--chewy, crunchy, and satisfying, not to mention more economical than your average packaged bar. This recipe is ripe for tweaking; feel free to try your favorite dried fruits and nuts in place of some or all of the ones listed here.
Nib + Fig Energy Bars
About 10 (80g) dried figs, mission and/or calimyrna
About 4-5, depending on size (70g) dried medjool dates
(2 1/2 Tbsp. (30g) whole almonds
2 tablespoons (5g) Theo cocoa nibs
pinch freshly ground cardamom (optional)
pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
Place dates, figs, spices, and half of the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and process until very finely chopped. Add the rest of the almonds and the nibs, and pulse just until mixed, a few times at most. Turn the mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and use the plastic or parchment to press the mixture into a log shape. Wrap it and rest it in the refrigerator overnight. Slice into 4 or 5 equal pieces. Re-wrap until ready to eat.